The 9pm Road to War

Screenshot from WCSC Live 5 News: click for original news story

Prime Minister Tony Abbott points to the enemy, and to the difficult road ahead. What road is that? Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gives a clue.

We also determine the three key differences between Philip Ruddock and a mechanical duck.

We award elephant stamps for people who have been exceptional in the category of thinking to the authorities of Summerville, South Carolina, for arresting a 9th-grader for an alleged dinosaur killing (pictured above), and the 20-year-old man arrested at Riverwood on 26 August.

And we introduce a new segment, Ubergasm, exploring the work of our favourite libertarian disruptors. Today we hear about Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft and a tweet from PR columnist Ed Zitron.

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Without civil liberties…

“The only difference between a Nation State and a Mafioso protection racket is the letterhead and the rituals — and the series of concessions, hard-won over eight centuries, that we call ‘civil liberties’.”

That’s the start of my guest post today for Electronic Frontiers Australia, entitled Without civil liberties, government is just a criminal racket.

It’s an essay that combines some thoughts about the constant battle for civil liberties with my reaction to the video posted by Wikileaks at Collateral Murder. It’s footage from 2007 showing a Reuters photojournalist and his driver and others being killed by US helicopter gunfire in Baghdad. It’s footage the US Department of Defence didn’t want you to see. It’s challenging to watch.

This is one of a series of guest posts for the EFA as part of their current fundraising campaign.

Anzac Day 2009: Sacrifice

Photograph of a sprig of rosemary, for remembrance

The cat vomited this morning. Again. Artemis has this habit of gorging her food and then, five minutes later, throwing up wherever she’s standing.

Today it was a projectile effort from the heights of the TV stand, a reddish-brown spatter right across the living room floor.

Remember that last time you threw up? How the acrid stomach acids burnt your throat and mouth? How it felt like it was surging up into the back of your nose? It’s just like that. Freshly warm and mixed with the reek of cheap fish.

You can’t help but get it on your hands as you wipe it up.

I’ll bet just the thought of that smell is causing tightness in your sinuses, clenching in your throat.

Wiping up cat vomit first thing in the morning is rather unpleasant, no?

If wiping up cat vomit is the worst you have to think about today, then you’re one of the luckiest bastards on this planet. It’s not a particularly demanding sacrifice to make in return for some furry companionship.

Today is, of course, Anzac Day, our national memorial for those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and that other country.

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Page 161

I noticed this blogging meme over at Quatrefoil’s place and thought I’d give it a try. The results are surprising.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 161.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Use what’s actually next to you.

And the sentence is:

“Sensitive site exploitation will continue.”

That sentence doesn’t make a lot of sense by itself, but the next one adds all the context you need:

So far there had been no WMD stockpiles found.

The book is State of Denial: Bush At War, Part III by investigative journalist Bob Woodward. It’s been months since I read it but for some reason it’s still on my desk.

This afternoon the BBC reports that unnamed “US officials” have evidence that North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear reactor. Here we go again. I think I might listen to some classic Detroit techno instead.